other tribes is either a sequence of open war, or is an act of private war which brings on open war. Pure endogamy, however, resulting in this manner, is probably rare, since the hostility of tribes is almost universal. But endogamy is likely to characterize not peaceful groups alone, but also groups habitually worsted in war. An occasional abducted woman taken in reprisal will not suffice to establish in a weak tribe any precedent for wife-capture; but, contrariwise, a member of such a tribe who carries off a woman, and so provokes vengeance by the stronger tribe robbed, is likely to meet with general reprobation.
Hence marrying in the tribe will not only be habitual, but there will arise a prejudice, and eventually a law, against taking wives from other tribes; the needs of self-preservation will make the tribe endogamous. This interpretation harmonizes with the fact, admitted by Mr. McLennan, that the endogamous tribes are as numerous as the exogamous; and also with the fact he admits, that in sundry cases clusters of tribes allied by blood and language are some of them exogamous and some endogamous.
It is to be inferred that, among tribes not differing much from one another in strength, there will be continual aggressions and reprisals, accompanied by mutual robberies of women. No one of them will be able to supply itself with wives entirely at the expense of adjacent tribes, and hence, in each of them, there will be both native wives, and wives taken from other tribes—there will be both exogamy and endogamy. Stealing of wives will not be reprobated, because the tribes robbed are not too strong to be defied; and it will not be insisted on, because the men who have stolen wives will not be numerous enough to determine the average opinion.
If, however, in a cluster of tribes, one gains predominance by frequent successes in war if the men in it who have stolen wives come to form the larger number—if the possession of a stolen wife becomes a mark of that bravery without which a man is not worthy of a wife—then the discreditableness of marrying within the tribe, growing into disgracefulness, will end in a peremptory requirement to get a wife from another tribe—if not in open war, then by private theft: the tribe will become exogamous. A sequence may be traced. The exogamous tribe thus arising, and growing while it causes adjacent tribes to dwindle by robbing them, will presently divide; and its sections, usurping the habitats of adjacent tribes, will carry with them the established exogamous habit. When, presently becoming hostile, these diverging sub-tribes begin to rob one another of women, there will
- Since the above sentence was written, I have, by a happy coincidence, come upon a verifying fact, in the just-published "Life in the Southern Isles," by the Rev. Mr. Gill (p. 47). A man, belonging to one of the tribes in Mangaia, stole food from an adjacent tribe. This adjacent tribe avenged itself by destroying the houses, etc., of the thief's tribe. Thereupon the thief's tribe, angry because of the mischief thus brought upon them, killed the thief. If this happened with a stealer of food, still more would it be likely to happen with a stealer of women, when the tribe robbed was the more powerful.